Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Make Your Next Telephone Interview A Success

Note to self: The success of a telephone interview starts off with mental preparation and setting the stage with the interviewer.

Telephone interviews are often used as the first stage in a selection process. As a large number of candidates are likely to apply for a particular job post, the telephone interview can help in the preliminary selection (or 'filtering') of the best candidates.

Muovo would like to share the following 12 tips that you should adhere to before answering that phone call - it could be life-changing!

1. Prepare a list matching your achievements to the job description. Specify and quantify your accomplishments, e.g. 'increased sales by 35%' or 'reduced overheads by 27%'. Keep this list in front of you during the interview and refer to it at every opportunity.

2. Find out all you can about the company's products, services, history, and culture. Familiarize yourself with the company's website and be prepared to comment constructively upon it if asked.

3. Ask if you should call the employer if they will be calling you. If they will be calling you, give a phone number where they can reach you without having any interruptions. Preferably, this would be a landline.

4. If you must use a mobile phone however, make sure that it is always charged and within your reach 24/7. You don't want to find a missed call from an unknown private number and not knowing what to do next!

5. Review your CV and highlight any areas that the interviewer is likely to want to address such as gaps in employment and reasons for leaving.

6. Interviewers want to hear about specific challenges or problems you faced in the workplace, the specific actions you took and the measurable results you achieved. Think about giving competency examples around communication skills, analytical skills, teamwork, drive and initiative.

7. Don’t speak too quickly, use slang, interrupt or talk over the recruiter. Matching your speaking rate and pitch to that of the interviewer will help you to establish rapport. Don’t use  a lot of pauses, like 'ummm' and 'err' too much! Your voice is the only sales tool you have (Also avoid saying 'aha' instead of 'yes'. The latter sounds much better!).

8. Use the interviewer’s name regularly throughout the conversation and also use the company name a few times.

9. Be succinct. For most questions a 2-4 minute answer is a good target. Time is an issue with telephone interviews and you're wasting your own time if you stray off the subject.

10. Have a copy of your CV, the job description and your notes to hand, for quick reference. Jot down key points throughout the course of the interview.

11. Try smiling while you are talking. Studies have shown that this has a positive effect on the person who is listening. It is also a good idea to stand during a telephone interview as this makes you sound more confident and helps project a positive and professional image.

12. Have a list of prepared questions available to ask the interviewer once they have asked their questions. This shows an employer that you are serious about the job and have done your homework before the interview.

You can't prepare for every possible question but here are a few which frequently come up: (For job specific questions you might want to consider interview coaching)

Can you tell me a little about yourself?
Why did you apply for this position?
What are the main responsibilities in your current position?
What can you bring to this position?
Why are you leaving your current job?
What is the most important achievement in your career to date?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What do you see yourself doing in five years?
What challenges do you think you will face in this job?
Please tell me about your salary expectations

Adapted from myCV&me

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

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